ADA, Okla. – Musicians Brad Clonch and Jeff Carpenter, better known as the Native American band Injunuity, have inked a record deal with an Arizona company.
Phoenix-based Canyon Records and Injunuity came to agreement almost a year ago. Canyon will release the band’s independently produced third compact disc Fight For Survival. The 2010 release won the band Songwriters of the Year honors at the Native American Music Awards or “Nammy.” Nammy awards are the equivalent to mainstream music’s Grammy Awards.
“They (Canyon) are one of the largest distributors of Native American music nationally and internationally,” Clonch said. “They took the album and are redesigning the artwork. They are reproducing the recording tracks to give it more of a flare that they are accustomed to in terms of the Native flute. We signed on with them a year ago in October and they’ve been reworking Fight For Survival over the last year,” he added.
“Instead of Jeff and me selling CDs out of the trunks of our cars, it will be released to stores. Our music will be available in many locations. People will know ‘hey, here’s this new sound, this new band,’ ” Clonch said.
The musicians are expecting release of Canyon’s version of Fight For Survival soon and with it they expect to become busier performing at Native American festivals and venues nationally and internationally.
Not that they aren’t already busy.
In fact, Clonch, who plays Native flute and is an accomplished pianist, and Carpenter, a multi-talented guitarist and saxophone player, recently ventured to Switzerland for a Native American concert known as Apache Moon. They departed Oklahoma in July and returned home about a week later.
Each raves about the experience, the welcome they received and how they were able to do radio and television interviews to inform people about their music, Chickasaw history and culture.
The festival’s organizer, Davide Buzzi, is interested in Native American music and culture. He organized the festival in Semione, Switzerland, approximately 10 years ago. Both musicians said the opportunity to visit with Europeans and share what it means to be Native American was exciting. Both work for the Chickasaw Nation. Carpenter is Chickasaw and Clonch is Mississippi Choctaw.
“There are still a lot of stereotypes about Native Americans, especially (in Europe),” Clonch said. “A lot of them think we still live on reservations, ride horses, and live in teepees. It’s actually very cool. Instead of them coming to America, we traveled to Europe to share our culture with them.” The pair explained to European media while some tribes did live in teepees, the Chickasaws lived in villages comprised of a summer home and winter home made of mud huts with a thatch roof.
“We were able to educate them on that and show them it’s not always what Hollywood portrays,” Clonch explained. “We were able to teach them some Chickasaws words and we sat down for many interviews where we talked about the Chickasaw Nation, how it was removed from the ancestral home lands and how it has thrived and continues to thrive in Oklahoma.”
With a newly-released fourth CD titled Spirits, a recording contract, and interest in the group spreading globally, Injunuity hits the road again in September.
A two-day festival celebrating Native Americans is held annually in Tuscumbia, Ala. Injunuity will make its sixth appearance there in as many years.
“That festival is probably one of the biggest reasons we still exist,” Carpenter notes with a big smile. “The reception we get out there was just unbelievable.”
“When you go to an area where people don’t experience (Native music) every day, they are just in awe of it,” Clonch said.
To learn more about the band and performance dates, visit www.injunuity.net.